The Project Manager Blog

29

What New Project Team Members Need To Know

Project teams are put together at the beginning of the project, but they don’t always stay that way for the whole duration. People leave the project team for a variety of reasons, anything from retirement to a new job, or simply that they aren’t needed on the team any more as their particular tasks are completed. People also join the team at different points. You’ll find that your project is likely to have someone new join when the rest of the team is quite established. Getting that new person up to speed so that they can contribute effectively is your job as the project manager, and ...
150

5 Top Tips For Prioritizing Project Tasks

Putting together your project task list is one of the first things that you’ll do as a project manager on a new project. But too often, task lists become a big dumping ground for everything you need to work on, without any structure and without any sense of what is most important. How do you prioritize what should be done first? Here are our top 5 tips for focusing on the most important work. Tip #1: Use Task Management Software However good you think you are at keeping your To Do list in your head, task management software will show you that you can be far more effective if you use some t...
42

Creating Reports is a Time Waster

How much time do you spend preparing project reports every week? Someone asked me that question recently and was genuinely surprised when I said hardly any time at all. She spent several hours per week customizing her project reports for different audiences, and I know she isn’t alone. The problem with spending so much time on project reports is that by the time you’ve finished writing them, they are out of date. The project has moved on before your sponsor has even opened the latest status email and that’s really frustrating when you’re trying to use the information to solve a prob...
54

Help! My Supplier Isn’t Doing Their Part

I’ve been having difficulties with the internet service at home recently, so I rang to see if their customer support team could help. You can guess what happened next – being kept on the line for ages while the agent worked through their script, then being handed off to another team, answering the same security questions again, only to be told they would look into it and someone would call me back. They didn’t. Talking to friends and colleagues, this happens all the time with communications providers, so I don’t know why I was surprised. It was annoying, and the problem still isn’t f...
74

How To Choose A Training Course

I’ve got the go ahead to sign up for a training course! Hurrah. Training is great as it keeps your skills up-to-date and is also a good way to recharge your batteries outside of the office. You’ll meet new people and hopefully come back to work fully energized and ready to put your new skills into practice. The caveat is that I have to research and find the right training course for me. While it might sound easier for my company’s Human Resources department to simply tell me what course to go on, having the flexibility to select my own training is far better as I can make sure that it...
67

How To Get Your Project Team To Share Feedback

“How’s your meal?” asked the waiter when my family and I were out for lunch last week. We replied that it was very good, and we ordered some more water for the table. Restaurants often ask their staff to check with diners during a meal – it’s the easiest way to get feedback and it probably increases sales as well as it gives people the opportunity to order extra side dishes or more drinks. While I didn’t think about work too deeply during our lunch it did jog my memory about a conversation I’d had with a colleague a few days before. I had been talking to another project manage...
57

Easy Ways To Build Your Self-Confidence As A Project Manager

Having a bit of a crisis of confidence? It happens to us all, especially when we start out in our careers. Project management is a very challenging job at times, and it often involves working with people who are a lot more experienced and expert than you are. So it isn’t surprising that sometimes project managers feel as if they don’t know what they are doing and that they don’t have confidence in their own abilities. While you might not be able to help feeling like that, you can do something about it! Here are some easy ways to build your self-confidence as a project manager. Know T...
85

6 Steps For Building A Work Breakdown Structure

A Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a chart representing all the work that needs to be done in order to complete the project. It doesn’t include any details of time or the order of tasks – it’s effectively simply a list of activities in graphical format. If that sounds simple, it is! But it’s also really important for getting clarity about what the project will be delivering and what tasks the team has to manage. Work with your team to prepare the WBS as this should ensure that you don’t leave anything out. Brainstorming together is a good way to come up with everything that needs...
45

How To Turbo Charge Your Project

I often see projects reported in the press with a delay – the other day there was news about a government healthcare initiative that had been pushed back several months. In my experience, choosing to delay a project doesn’t happen all that often. Projects get delayed and have to launch later than expected due to problems, but I don’t often work with sponsors who voluntarily choose to push back the go live date for their projects! They tend to want things completed faster, not more slowly, and trying to meet these new dates is always a challenge. I can see why there are benefits to deliv...
35

3 Ways To Measure Progress

How do you know when you are done on your project? If you are painting a bridge it’s pretty easy: you’re done when you get to the other end and the whole bridge has been painted. It’s also easy to see how much progress you have made as you can see how far the painters have got! But on many projects, measuring progress is a lot harder. Do you do it by lines of code produced by the software developers? That’s not ideal as often the fewer lines they write the better and cleaner the final product. So how about by days spent? That’s not ideal either, as the team could be spending a lot of...
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